Respected Rashtrapatiji, Uparashtrapatiji, Hon\'ble Prime Minister, Hon\'ble Members of Council of Ministers and my colleague Governors.
The State ofMizoramis now 25 years old and recently on this 30 June celebrated \"Remna Ni\" - Peace Day to commemorate the silver jubilee of the signing of the Peace Accord. It is the most peaceful state in the North East and this has augured well for the state for as we all know peace and development are concomitant processes.
As far as internal security and naxalism are concerned, we are fortunate not to be much affected by it. However, though peaceful, the state is in the transit zone for smuggling of drugs, counterfeit currencies and limited arms into and out of the state for insurgent groups inAssam, Manipur and Nagaland. Our international borders of 318 kms withBangladesh and 404 kms withMyanmar have been largely peaceful. The fencing construction works on the international border ofIndia andBangladesh is progressing well. With the introduction of this border fencing and rapid deployment of BSF personnel, border crimes have diminished and also maintenance of peace in the border area has been bolstered. No organized crime has been reported so far. The intelligence reports reveal that there are training camps for Indian insurgent groups in the Chitttagong Hill tracks inBangladesh. To check any infiltration of their cadre, constant vigil is maintained by the BSF troops deployed on the border. The riverine area is also guarded by regular patrolling by engine fitted country boats and speed boats to check unlawful activities. The BSF organizes various activities under the Civic Action Programme (CAP) for upliftment of the border population.
The border withMyanmaris guarded by Assam Rifles. Though there has been peace and tranquility in this border area, the smuggling of drugs and arms along the Indo-Myanmar border still remains a major concern of both the countries. The Assam Rifles and other law enforcing agencies on the Indian side keep seizing weapons and drugs and most offenders are found to be ofMyanmarorigin. To combat this menace of drugs/arms trafficking, more effective steps need to be taken by the Government on both sides.
The Mizoram Police is effectively dealing with militant outfits operating from neighboring states. However, this does not mean that Mizoram is free of insurgent and militant activities. The Hmar People Convention (Democratic) was formed in 1996 with the aim to create an autonomous administration within the state of Mizoram where the Hmar People have majority population. As a measure of appeasement, the area dominated by the Hmar People in Mizoram is being administered by the formation of the Sinlung Hills Development Council in 1997. However, their perceived problems and issues must be continuously addressed through constructive dialogue.
The BRU Revolutionary Union or BRU Revolutionary Army was formed by few remnants of the erstwhile BRU Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM) who refused to come over ground in 2006 They are more like an armed gang rather than a well organized militant group. Their operational area is restricted in the western belt of Mizoram bordering Tripura andAssamstates. The outfit is very small and the Mizoram Police is able to check their activity to a great extent.
Turning to issues of agriculture, I would like to inform that the Government of Mizoram on 14 January, 2011 launched a Comprehensive Project for inclusive growth and development called the New Land Use Policy (NLUP). This flagship programme focuses on a major overhaul of the state economy through structural changes by weaning away farmers from the system of destructive jhum cultivation to sustainable livelihood opportunities based on local resources. About 60% of our total workers are engaged in agricultural activities. The majority of them are small and marginal farmers. The average size of operational land holding is only about 0.51 hectares. Even though, the total area under jhum cultivation has decreased due to the implementation of water shed development programme, the practice of shifting cultivation could not be completely done away with and continues to be a problem. There has been 26% increase in Wet Rice Cultivation (WRC) area from 9,446 hectares at the beginning of 11th Plan to 11,937 hectares whereas the area under jhum cultivation has decreased 36% from 44,947 hectares at the beginning of 11th Plan to 28,735 hectares during 2010-11. Under the integrated scheme of oil palm cultivation, Government of India has approved Rs. 841.26 lakh for maintenance of existing plantation and allocated 1,000 hectares under oil palm area expansion (OPAE) of RKVY with an approved outlay of Rs. 1,480 lakhs. Central Government has been requested to allot another 2,000 hectares for the current year 2011-2012.
For crop productivity augmentation, the following strategies have been initiated :-Expansion of area under rice cultivation; Adoption of improved package of practices; Increase of coverage under irrigation for water harvesting and construction of check dams etc.; Amelioration of soil with lime in acidic soil for enhancing land productivity; Enhancing seed replacement rate with area specific high yielding varieties; Infrastructure! support for construction of WRC area approach road, agriculture input godown and efficient supply chain, like-farmers market to provide quality vegetables and other crops atcompetitive prices, transport subsidy as incentive to maize grower; Transfer of technology by conducting Farmer Field School (FFS) as per NSFM rice guidelines; Promotion of mechanized rice cultivation and Integrated pest management for minimizing crop losses and enhancing returns.
Regarding improvement in rainfed farming, it may be pointed out that rainfed farming is complex, diverse, risk prone and characterized by low level productivity and low input usage. Variability in rainfall results in wide variation and instability in yields. The bulk of the rural poor farmers live in the rainfed region. The challenge before us is to transform rainfed farming into small sustainable and productive systems and to better support the population dependent on it. With a view to increasing food production as well as diversifying the existing farming system, particularly of small and marginal farmers, we are attempting a sustainable enhancement of productivity of various commodities. The watershed approach would result in improving the productivity of not only agriculture and allied commodities but also overall production of bio-mass for enhancement of self - employment opportunities and improvement in the overall income of the rural household. Watershed based projects are very encouraging for control of shifting cultivation, and 140 number of Micro Watershed of National Watershed Development Projects in rainfed areas (NWDPRA) and 61 in shifting cultivation areas (WDPSCA) covering 97,000 hectares and 30,000 hectares respectively have been taken up.
Regarding role of Governors in the context of the 5 and 6 Schedule of the Constitution of India, it may be noted that the 5th Schedule is not made applicable in the entire North East area including Mizoram. However, three Autonomous District Councils in Mizoram are governed by the provisions of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India. On the attainment of the status of Union Territory by the former Mizo District of Assam State in 1972, the erstwhile Pawi-Lakher Autonomous Regional Council was dissolved and in its place three Autonomous District Councils of Lai, Mara and Chakma with headquarters at Lawngtlai, Saiha and Kalamanagar (Chawngte) respectively were created in the year 1972 as per the provisions of the 6th Schedule to the Constitution of India.
The institution of District Councils in Mizoram are more or less identical to the institution of Zilla Parishads elsewhere with the exception that the District Councils constituted under the 6th Schedule are vested with extensive legislative and judicial powers. The District Councils in Mizoram govern themselves and try cases under their own customs and laws through their own judicial setup known as District Council Court and its subordinate courts. Mention may be made here that prior to 1972, the entire Mizoram was administered under 6th Schedule, but after it became a Union Territory from 21st January, 1972, only the area covered by Pawi-Lakher Regional Council continues to remain under 6th Schedule in the entire state, leaving the remaining area covered by as many as six districts, namely Aizawl, Kolasib, Mamit, Champhai, Serchhip and Lunglei nolonger enjoyed the constitutional status of a tribal area with the result that tribal rights so far enjoyed by them are taken away.
The over-all performance of all the three Autonomous District Councils is found to be more or less satisfactory. Their aspirations to enjoy direct funding from the Government of India and augmentation of these funds are a regular feature of their discourse.
On the education front, we have one of the highest literacy rates in the country provisionally estimated at 91.58% in the 2011 census. However, there is an acute paucity of technical and professional courses and colleges. The vacancies for our students in the other colleges/institutions of the country are few and constantly changing. We need to urgently strengthen our higher education sector. On the specific agenda item of ensuring ragging free educational environment, Anti-Ragging Committees for state, district and college levels were constituted with exhaustive terms of reference. These include a study of the various aspects of ragging, means and methods to prevent it and possible action to be taken against those who indulge in it; constant vigil on incidents of ragging and taking of immediate action on receiving distress message from victims of ragging; to study the psychological impact of ragging on students and problems of alcoholism on campuses including de-addiction measures. So far, in this context there has been no un-toward incidence requiring action, criminal or otherwise.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the peace dividend in Mizoram has enabled us to freely embark on an ambitious development programme. It has been our sincere effort to be abreast with the rest of the country in overall economic progress. However, our efforts at infrastructure and socio-economic development are limited because of the prevailing financial constraints due to virtual absence of private investments other than grants from the Central Government. This coupled with implementation of Pay Revision, provision of subsidy for the purchase of food grains and electricity causes a huge payout to the detriment of our state fiscal system. Our limited resources are spread very thinly over our multiple competing demands. Our geographical location and insular hilly terrain make our infrastructure development cost very high rendering the most normal of economic activities vexatious. This and the lack of a well developed communication system makes the movement of goods and services into and in the state, specially cost of transporting essential commodities and raw materials/finished industrial goods both time consuming and expensive. The incessant and fierce spells of rainfall cause regular damage to our roads and highways and other installed capacities/infrastructure. Cognizance of these facts is essential for an understanding of the special needs of Mizoram for enhanced/special funds for development